Could Alain Vigneault's loyalty cost the New York Rangers the cup?
Apr 13, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault reacts on the bench against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period in game one of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers fall flat in Ottawa, head home to face the Penguins in the regular season finale plus a couple more Montreal hype videos to enjoy.

  • New York Rangers 1 (47-28-6, 100 pts)
  • Ottawa Senators 3 (44-27-10, 98 pts)
  • NHL, Final, Box Score
  • Canadien Tire Centre, Ottawa, Canada

With many regulars out of the lineup, it’s easy to see why the New York Rangers have fallen flat this stretch. At least that’s what we’re all hoping as the team looked passive and slow up and down the ice all afternoon in the matinee.

The Senators outshot the Rangers 33-19 in a game the Rangers just couldn’t seem to muster any sort of offense. Again, not a promising sign headed into the playoffs, but let’s chalk it up to the absence of the regulars and cross our fingers.

AV seemed calm and collected as he navigated the media circus following the game. It seems the coaching staff has the same idea in the back of their minds, that without so many regulars, let’s just go out and work on small things.

To me, however, it’s definitely apparent that some of these guys “fighting” for ice time just aren’t going to cut it. Brandon Pirri, strictly, is a Power Play specialist as his five-on-five play has so much that I doubt we’ll see much of him this postseason. Same goes for Matt Puempel, who’s hat trick and small offensive bursts earlier in the season warranted hope, but it’s evident he’s not bringing much to the table.

On the bright side, I thought Henrik Lundqvist flashed a little bit of his old self. Made plenty of stops on grade-A opportunities for the Sens. If this run is going to go deep, the Rangers will need The King to be at the top of his game, in order to steal some wins.

It’s pretty clear, even with all regular D healthy and playing, the Rangers are going to turn the puck over and give up chances and they’re really going to need Hank to bail them out.

Good for Mika, scoring his 14th of the season against the team that drafted him sixth overall in 2011. It always feels quite emotional when some guys return to their original teams.

Check out the full highlights below:

The Rangers will close out the regular season on Sunday, Apr. 9 at 7 p.m. ET against the Penguins. The Pens, albeit depleted by injuries, still continue to find ways to win. Kris Letang is out presumably for the rest of the season and playoffs after undergoing surgery, and star center Evgeni Malkin continues to sit with an upper body injury, in an attempt to be ready to go for Game 1.

The Pens top line features two small time names flanking superstar Sidney Crosby, as Jake Guentzel and Connor Sheary, two former college players, have meshed nicely with Crosby to form a formidable trio.

Puck drop is 7 p.m., and tomorrow night will be a special one as the organization will honor Detective Steven McDonald.

Need to also give a quick shout out to my personal favorite YouTube guy, ajcastigliaa. He just dropped two hype videos for the playoffs, and they’re definitely worth your time.

Neal Purcell has a tremendous passion for New York Rangers hockey and the sport of hockey in general. A graduate of SUNY Cortland in Upstate NY, Purcell coaches both a high school hockey team and a travel team in the winter. Purcell is also a part of a small family business in the Central New York Region.